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Body Fat Calipers

If you are embarking on a new health and fitness program, it is important to track your body fat percentage. The most accurate way to calculate how much subcutaneous fat a person has is to use fat calipers. Find out just how to use these tools.

Myth: The bathroom scale is the most accurate way to measure weight loss.

Truth: Stepping on the scale as a means of measuring weight loss won't give you the full story on your progress. There are many inaccuracies associated with weighing in each day as the scale only offers a raw measurement of your body weight and fails to provide which percentage of your body is lean body mass and which percentage is fat mass. The ultimate aim of losing weight and toning up is to ensure we are targeting body fat rather than lean muscle mass. So by using fat calipers to gauge your progress you can ensure that it's fat mass that you're losing. It is also important to understand that the scales are largely inaccurate and can be swayed by drinking even just one glass of water.

What are fat calipers and how to use them?

Fat calipers are a simple tool that are used to pinch certain areas of the body that will give a much more reliable estimation of your total body fat.

Gently pinching the skin will create a skin fold upon which you will place each arm of the caliper. When you do this, the calliper will then give you a thickness reading, which indicates how many millimeters thick that skin fold is. The idea is that the more body fat you have on your body, the thicker this skin fold will be, sothen when you put those measurements into a body fat calculator, you will get an estimate of what your total body fat percentage is.

To test your body fat using the caliper there are 2 methods to choose from depending on how accurate you want to be - you can either use a three point test or a seven point test. The seven point test will assess a greater number regions on the body and therefore these do tend to be superior over the three point test.

For consistency purposes, you should aim to always use one side of your body when performing the test.

Aim to take two total measurements from each location to ensure accuracy and prevent human error and use the average of these two numbers.

Where do I measure?

The important places to measure are:

  • Chest

  • Midaxillary

  • Subprailiac

  • Abdominal

  • Thigh

  • Triceps

  • Subscapular

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